A woman's legs with ski wool socks

How To Choose the Right Ski Socks

Photo: Spela

Ski socks work with your ski boots to keep your feet comfortable on the slopes.

Ski socks are a small but essential piece of ski gear. By keeping your feet dry, warm, and comfortable, socks help you get the most performance out of your boots and skis. There are a wide range of ski sock options, including pairs made with natural and synthetic fibers, different levels of compression, and varying amounts of cushioning. While the best way to find a great pair of ski socks is to try them on with your equipment, this guide will help you narrow down which style, materials, and fit will work for you. 

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • The style and design of ski socks
  • The materials used in ski socks
  • How to determine proper fit and sizing

Style and Design

Ski socks come in many different varieties; these are the main types to know.

Lightweight

Most ski boot fitters will recommend a lightweight ski sock, which is less likely to interfere with the fit of a heat-molded boot. Thin socks should fit snugly and offer some compression without cutting off circulation. 

Light to Medium Cushion

Ski socks with some cushioning in the heels and toes will add extra comfort, and shin padding can help protect the front of the leg where you lean into the boot. If the socks are too thick, however, they might impede the fit of your boot. 

Heavy Cushioning

Thicker winter socks are generally not recommended for skiing. While thick socks might feel warm and cozy your feet, they don't fit as well in the boot. In addition, they can actually be too warm, which will cause your foot to sweat and make for an uncomfortable day on the mountain. 

Heated Ski Socks

These technical socks have a battery-powered heating element integrated into the fabric to keep your feet warm in very cold conditions. 

Women's Ski Socks

Women's ski socks are generally shorter in the calf and have a narrower fit and more arch support to match the shape of women’s feet and legs.

A man putting on a ski boot Photo: JackF

Materials

From warmth to fit, a ski sock’s fabric determines its performance. These are the main fabrics you’ll encounter while shopping.

Wool

Merino wool is one of the most popular materials for ski socks, and for good reason. Wool fibers naturally retain heat, even when wet. In addition, merino wool is highly breathable and wicks moisture from the skin, which keeps your feet from getting clammy and fights odors, too. There are many types of wool blends, but 100 percent merino wool socks will be the softest. 

Synthetic

Nylon and polyester blends are another popular option for ski socks. Synthetic materials are a great alternative for those who are allergic or sensitive to wool fibers. In addition, most synthetic socks have high elasticity and provide a snug fit. 

Wool and Synthetic Blends

The best of both worlds, wool-synthetic blends will offer moisture-wicking breathability, warmth, and elasticity to provide a good fit. 

Fit and Sizing

A good fit is essential for ski socks to keep your feet comfortable. Here’s what you need to know to get the right size and fit for you.

Sizing

Most ski socks are sold in generalized sizes (small, extra large, etc.). Check the manufacturer’s size guide to see how these sizes correspond with your numbered shoe size. If you’re between sizes and unfamiliar with the sock brand’s fit, it’s generally a good idea to opt for the smaller pair. 

Fit

Like any athletic sock, you'll want your ski socks to fit snugly to avoid bunching or folding, which can cause blisters and general discomfort. The sock should not be so tight that it cuts off blood circulation in your feet or legs, however. When trying the socks on, look out for pressure points or seams that may cause irritation. Ultimately, perceived comfort is the best test for the proper fit—if the socks feel good when you try them on, they should feel good on the mountain, too.

Ski Boots and Socks

Your ski boots and ski socks need to work together for a good fit. When trying on socks, always test them out in your boots. Be sure that your socks aren’t too thick for the padding of your boots (or so thin that your boot feels loose around your foot). In addition, it’s a good idea to wear your socks when getting your boots fitted.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.

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